Inspiring you to live an all natural & non-toxic lifestyle.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Cheap or FREE Ways to Go Green + Save Money While Doing it! | Reduce Waste & Save Money

A lot of us love the idea of going green in theory, but going green often gets a bad rap for being expensive or unattainable. Due to recent movements and social media blowing up with beautiful pictures of all brand new eco-friendly products with brand new expensive price tags many of us don't want to or can't afford to just throw out all our plastic products in one day; and to be honest that approach isn't always the most environmentally friendly either. With all this being said I wanted to write this article to showcase all of the cheap or even FREE ways that you can not only drastically reduce your carbon footprint but these tips and items will also end up saving you money in the long run! Say what?! Yep, you read that right! If you want this year to be YOUR year that you do good for the planet and your wallet, then just keep reading. 



Always Shop Used First 

Try and buy secondhand first for as many of your purchases as possible. This includes everyday things like books, clothing, and children's items, but also bigger ticket items like furniture, electronics, and cars. Every secondhand purchase you make instead of a new purchase not only lets you vote with your dollar but has a huge impact. Even something as simple as clothing is extremely detrimental to the environment, fast fashion is now considered to be the second highest polluting industry right behind the oil industry! Next time you, your kiddos or spouse are in need of anything new try one of these places below. They can easily save you more than half on clothing, books, and houseware and save hundreds of dollars on larger items like furniture, electronics and with the most savings found when buying used cars. I've also listed options for those who typically don't like the experience of shopping for used items.

"Even something as simple as clothing is extremely detrimental to the environment, fast fashion is now considered to be the second highest polluting industry right behind the oil industry!"
Options for Buying Second Hand
  • General: Thrift store (Goodwill, Savers, Salvation Army) or better yet shop local and find a locally owned thrift store in your area. 

  • For Clothing: Online used retailers are great for those who don't like the hunt that comes with a traditional thrift store. Some Great online websites to check out for name brand, designer and overall great quality pieces are PoshmarkThred Up, and my personal favorite Swap (they have the best prices in my opinion. For 20% off click the word "swap") 

  • For Books: buy used books from 3rd party sellers on Amazon, the online store called Thrift Books or better yet use your local library which is completely FREE, and most libraries even have a Kindle/ebook library. The coolest part of the ebook library? No late fees the books just disappear off your device the day they are due. 

  • For Used Furniture, Electronics and Even Cars: I love local online classifieds like Offerup, Craigslist or if you don't mind the hunt estate sales and garage sales are a great way to score deals as well. This is probably one of the best ways to save money. For example, if you go out and buy a nice quality tv stand it will cost you $200 or up, I scored this one for $80 on Offerup about a year ago.
    $80 on Offerup! Retail around $300
    The person I bought it from was moving states and couldn't keep his basically brand new tv stand from American Furniture Warehouse, that easily retailed for $300. Score! I've done this with items all over my home and buying used will save you hundreds of dollars. For safety tips when buying from sites like Offerup and Craigslist here is a great article: Safety Tips for Buying On Craigslist (online classifieds in general). For buying used cars I typically buy from Craigslist or family members but even if you buy a used car from the dealership it will save you thousands of dollars and according to National Geographic, the production, disposal and even recycling of cars consume a lot of energy and leave a huge imprint on our environment. This is due to the production of steel, rubber, plastics etc. When you buy a used car you give that car a second or even 3rd, 4th life before needing to part it out or even dispose of it altogether. 
Selling your used items online or to local consignment stores is also a great way to reduce waste and make money. If you can't sell an item always try and donate it and get a tax donation slip. 

"According to National Geographic, the production, disposal and even recycling of cars consume huge amounts of energy and leave quiet the imprint on our environment. This is due to the production of steel, rubber, plastics etc. When you buy a used car you give that car a second or even 3rd, 4th life before needing to part it out or even dispose of it altogether. "


Make your Own Eco-Friendly Products 


Making your own products is not only easy, extremely cost-effective but also great for the environment. Each time you make your own products you reduce the need for more plastic, reduce pollution from transportation of the products and your homemade products are much safer for the environment and ecosystem. The EPA says, "Volatile organic compounds (VOC) in cleaning products can affect indoor air quality and also contribute to smog formation in outdoor air." With Pinterest at our fingertips, you can pretty much find a DIY recipe for everything around your house. Cleaning products, beauty products, hygiene products, and the list goes on! Below I've linked some of my favorite and easy recipes to get you started. Most of the ingredients you can find already lying around your house or are dirt cheap at places like Walmart and your local grocery store.

The EPA says, "Volatile organic compounds (VOC) in cleaning products can affect indoor air quality and also contribute to smog formation in outdoor air."
Eco-Friendly Product Recipes




Start with Meatless Monday, Then Consider Going Plant-Based
 Now try and hear me out on this one, raising animals for food requires enormous amounts of land, water, energy, and food. Just by omitting meat from your families diet one day a week, you can make a huge impact. Having meatless Monday saves your family money each week, saves 133 gallons of water each meatless meal, reduces your carbon footprint by 8 pounds each meatless day and has a slew of health benefits!
Photo Credit: Parsnips + Pastries Blog (www.parsnipsandpastries.com)

According to Medical nutritionist Lory Hayon of The Fertility Center of Las Vegas, "if the average family of four spent $20 per meat-containing meal, seven days per week, they could reduce their grocery bill on average by $30 per week, or $1500 per year, by making three meals per week meatless." Now, if you like the sound of all these benefits and are looking to make an even bigger impact and save even more money consider going plant-based or vegan altogether. If going meatless 1 day a week (3 meals) saves your family $30 a week lets do some quick math to see how much money you can save by your family going plant-based all together. 30 x 7 (7 days in a week) = 210. $210 a month extra in your pocket? Sweet! How much is that over one year you ask? 210 x 12 (months in a year ;) = $2,520! By you and your family going plant-based you can save an estimated $2,520 a year! Now we're talking! What would you do with an extra $1,500-2520? Tell me in the comments below.

"By you and your family making 3 meatless meals a week you can save an estimated $1500 a year and by your family going plant-based you can save an estimated $2,520 a year! Now we're talking! What would you do with an extra $1500-2,520?" 

Going vegan also has a huge impact on improving our environment. According to PETA, more than 90% of ALL Amazon Rainforest land has been cleared since 1970 for grazing livestock and it takes 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef, yet to produce 1 pound of tofu it only takes 244 gallons of water. Reducing your meat and dairy consumption in general has amazing benefits for the environment, your wallet, health, and the animals. Below is a great video from PETA that dives more into the environmental impact of the meat and dairy industry. If you would like to read more about my vegan story click here to read my blog post: My Vegan Story


If You Can Repair Your Broken Items Instead Of Tossing Them 

This is something I just started recently doing and I wish I did this years ago! I think in this day and age with Amazon Prime and most places offering 2-day shipping it makes it so easy to dispose of our ripped clothes, broken appliances or worn out towels without a second thought. This not only gets expensive but also adds to the world's ever-growing landfill. "Most of the environmental issues we see today can be linked to consumption," said Gary Gardner, director of research for Worldwatch... one small example...37 percent of species could become extinct due to climate change, which is very directly related to consumption."
"I think in this day and age with Amazon Prime and most places offering 2-day shipping it makes it so easy to dispose of our ripped clothes, broken appliances or worn out towels without a second thought. This not only gets expensive but also adds to the world's ever growing landfill." 

I think a lot of us get overwhelmed by the idea of fixing something new, but Youtube and the internet, in general, make it so easy. For example, if you had a shirt that the buttons fell off you could quickly search "Easy Way to Sew on a Missing Button" and within seconds you've got several videos and articles available to help you repair this item. Recently, we had both our closet door fall off and our bed sheet rip. I considered throwing them both away but soon as my boyfriend and I did our online research we found to fix these items cost almost next to nothing and were quite simple. I've got the supplies for both projects in my eBay cart, waiting for next payday to check out. We've fixed several items in the past, both of these are pretty simple but new ventures, wish us luck! I'll come back with an update for you ;) 




You may be wondering though, What if there are times it really is just better for your family to upgrade? A great way I use to determine if I need to upgrade something is through reflection and researching that product in general. I recently listened to a podcast episode by The Minimalist, its episode 015 | Consumerism and they've got a great segment in there about deciding when the upgrade will benefit your life overall. A perfect example of how to do this is recently one of my family members had their dryer break. After researching they decided it was best to just upgrade the set overall, both the washer and dryer. It worked out overall because the set they chose was larger (perfect for a large family) and better on energy saving. Then, when they upgraded instead of just throwing away the washer and dryer they handed them down to us. We had just bought our house and this was perfect timing and an awesome blessing! After watching a few Youtube videos and talking with my stepdad, my boyfriend was able to repair the dryer for only the price of the part. Win-win for everyone! 

So if you can or it makes overall sense to repair your broken items definitely do it and it can save you tons of money in the long run. If you decide its time to upgrade sell, donate or give away the old items so they avoid the landfill. 


Stop Buying Disposable Products 

“Although the U.S. comprises less than 5 percent of the world’s population, we... produce 30 percent of the trash and pollutants. Plastic constitutes 90 percent of all of the trash floating on the ocean’s surface – approximately 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.” Disposable products like paper towels, sponges, plastic water bottles, and even pre-packaged convenience items (ie individually wrapped snacks) are not only costly but are also detrimental to our environment. By making the switch to reusable products that you probably already have on hand, you can save hundreds each year!
“Although the U.S. comprises less than 5 percent of the world’s population, we...produce 30 percent of the trash and pollutants. Plastic constitutes 90 percent of all of the trash floating on the ocean’s surface – approximately 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.”
Budget-Friendly Reusable Items

  • Swap out paper towels and paper napkins for wash clothes, cloth napkins, hand towels, tea towels, or even old t-shirts or towels cut up. 

  • Switch your disposable plastic water bottle with a reusable one. I like to buy used stainless steel or glass water bottles from Goodwill for under $2 but if you already have reusable bottles at home that will be the most cost-effective option. 

  • Instead of using a sponge, use a rag or reusable dish wand that you can wash or sanitize again and again! 

  • Replace your individually wrapped snacks with snacks bought in bulk. You can store snacks in Tupperware or mason jars. 


There you have it! I hope you try out some of these cheap or free ways to go green and if you and your family have any other ways to save money and be eco-friendly let me know down below in the comments! I also just created a new email list so if you want to stay up to date on blog posts, receive free printables and exclusive content please subscribe to my mailing list below!

Looking for more ways to save money? Check out these link's to my other budget-friendly blog posts! 


XOXO, The Natural Babe 

LET'S BE FRIENDS!//

Instagram: @thenaturalbabeblog
Pinterest: @thenaturalbabeblog 
Facebook: @thenaturalbabeblog 
My Email List: http://eepurl.com/gc-eyv



Resources: 
Fast Fashion Is the Second Dirtiest Industry in the World, Next to Big Oil. (2017, April 17). Retrieved January 6, 2019, from https://www.ecowatch.com/fast-fashion-is-the-second-dirtiest-industry-in-the-world-next-to-big--1882083445.html

Buying Guide - Cars and Their Environmental Impact. (2017, October 28). Retrieved January 6, 2019, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/green-guide/buying-guides/car/environmental-impact/

Meat and the Environment. (2018, July 19). Retrieved January 6, 2019, from https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/meat-environment/

Cutting Meat Boosts Cash! (n.d.). Retrieved January 6, 2019, from https://www.meatlessmonday.com/articles/cutting-meat-boosts-cash/

Greening Your Purchase of Cleaning Products: A Guide For Federal Purchasers. (2018, November 28). Retrieved January 6, 2019, from https://www.epa.gov/greenerproducts/greening-your-purchase-cleaning-products-guide-federal-purchasers#Two

Mayell, H. (2018, July 26). As Consumerism Spreads, Earth Suffers, Study Says. Retrieved January 6, 2019, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2004/01/consumerism-earth-suffers/

Plastic Water Bottle Pollution: Where Do All of Those Water Bottles End Up? (2018, July 11). Retrieved January 10, 2019, from https://waterbottles.healthyhumanlife.com/plastic-water-bottle-pollution-plastic-bottles-end/









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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

5 Ways to Take Control of your Finances When Money is Tight | Saving Money Tips

As some of you know, I recently broke my ankle which has caused me to be out of work for the last 3 months and I had to have surgery. When this first happened I was very concerned that my finances were about to drastically change. Going from two full-time incomes and a side hustle to now only getting 60% of my pay, medical bills fast approaching and on top of all these, we also were having expensive car troubles. All hope wasn't lost for me though and it isn't for you either. Today's article is for when your money situation changes, these 5 things can get you back on track! 

1. Increase your Income

In my case, my ankle was broken but my laptop and hands were not! I already had a part-time job where for about 5 hours every week I write blog posts for an all natural company. So I reached out to my client and told her that I would be home for the next few months waiting to heal and waiting for my surgery. Just by letting her know my situation and asking for more hours, my hours went from 5 hours a week to 20! What an amazing blessing! 

Now you're probably thinking, "That's great Sam but what if we don't already have a second job in place? " Have no fear! There are many side hustle options nowadays that can help you get cash fast! Depending on your situation and access to a car or the internet, there should be an option here for everyone! 

  • Sign up and deliver food for Doordash and start earning cashs early as the same day.
  • Good with kids or pets? Apply to babysitting jobs, pet sitting or even odd jobs on Care.com
  • If you aren't able to really leave your home, like me, an at home side hustle is perfect. Consider becoming a virtual assistant, or freelance writer! Get started using websites like Upwork to find clients! 
  • Apply for a parttime seasonal job locally like at Target, Amazon or even as a coach for a kids sports team at your local rec center or high school. Look on Craigslist and ask around for these type of opportunities. 
  • Here are a few other great blog posts with side hustle ideas: 10 extra ways to make extra moneySide hustles for introverts, and How to become a Virtual Assistant with NO experience.

2. Drastically Reduce Your Spending 

Now some of you might have gotten to this point, and are thinking "Thank you, Next" but, just hear me out. We often times spend money on things that in the long run aren't as important to us as reaching our other goals like buying a home or even just getting caught up on bills. If we can eliminate what's weighing us down we can make real progress. 

Start by writing out every single monthly bill that you have and about how much you spend on things like groceries, and entertainment. If the total amount you spend exceeds the income you have coming in or doesn't leave you any room for savings, its time to pull out that red pen and start crossing things off your list.  Things like upcoming vacations, monthly subscriptions, magazines, etc are the first to go. 

For any of the other non-necessities that you still feel like you cant cut, research each one. Love having cable? Learn how others live without! Google cheaper alternatives and pick the solution that works best for you and your family. Maybe switch to a cheaper provider or better yet cancel it altogether and switch to Netflix! Do you enjoy your premium Spotify membership? Download all the free versions of Spotify, iHeartradio and Pandora instead so you have as much free music as you could ever want! 

For the other bills that you can't just cancel like your electric bill or water bill, call your provider or go on their website directly. This was you can see all the options they offer to help you save money! For example, my electric company has several different ways to save money and on numerous occasions have given me a discount just for calling and asking! You never know! 

For groceries, I'm not a fan of clipping paper coupons. To be honest, I never remember to bring them into the store. To save money on groceries I like to join the rewards program at my grocery store, eat from my pantry first, stick to things on the outer aisles (real food: fruits, veggies, grains etc), buy from the discount racks, and I follow my grocery store on Facebook because they often offer exclusive digital coupons that I can download right onto my rewards card. 

If you need to, do a spending freeze altogether. For those of you that haven't heard of this method, its extreme but very effective. Essentially, for a certain amount of time (maybe a few days, a month or a year) you only buy the bare necessities. Like gas for work, basic groceries, and paying any of your bills. Everything else is on a freeze! When we were saving up for our house we did spending freezes for months at a time! When I recently broke my ankle we also did spending freezes as best as we could. Here is an article about how to get started with a spending freeze. How to do a Spending Freeze- It's Easier Than You Think!

3. Sell Your Old Stuff

Man, in times of crisis you should see me running around my house like a mad woman! I go through each room and start taking pictures of anything and everything I can think to sell. Got any old furniture or toys your kids don't play with? Post them for sale on Craigslist or Offerup. Have clothes that you've outgrown or items that you can no longer return? Try selling them on eBay or to a local consignment store. 

The trick to making this work is to keep posting your items until they sell. On Offerup or Craigslist I like to go back in every 3-4 days and either lower my price or repost my ad altogether. Post on Facebook that you have items for sale and ask your friends to share your post. Better yet, join one of those local buy and sell Facebook groups so more people can see what you've got. I'm usually able to sell most things within one week and depending on how much stuff you have this can result in a quick few hundred dollars back into your bank account.

4. Ask for Help 
 

Now for this tip, I'm not referring to asking for money. When I say ask for help, I mean reach out to your friends and family and come up with creative ways to tackle your financial situation. 

For example, do you typically send your children to daycare? That can get expensive, fast! If money is tight, try and skip a few weeks of daycare and ask your family members to watch your kids. We are so blessed, to be honest, my stepson has never had to stay at daycare or really even have a babysitter because our family is big and there's always someone who loves to help watch him when needed. Now if you don't have a family with that type of availability or maybe they don't live close to you, think about trading babysitting. Set up a trading system with your friends or coworkers, watch their kids when you can and have them watch yours in exchange, for free. 

Need to buy something? Like a part for your car, school supplies or new clothes for that interview? Ask your friends and family if they know of cheap places to get those items or if they have anything that you can borrow for free. A great website to reach out to your community for help is called Freecycle if you need anything like baby supplies, tools, old treadmills, clothes (I've even gotten free compost), etc this website is for you! 

Asking for help also means calling your bills and if needed letting them know you're in a tight position. Often times, if you are upfront and honest they, can either change your due date, give you a longer grace period or even reduce your bill altogether! 

If you're in a really tough spot and need immediate assistance, you can also reach out to local places like the Salvation Army or Red Cross for any food, shelter and household needs you and your family may be facing.

We can't get through this life alone remember to reach out to others for moral support and advice! 

5. Pray 

Last, but not least pray. Pray your heart out even if you feel upset at God or feel like nothing will come of it. God is tough and can handle how we may be feeling and He will come to your aid in times of trouble. Keep praying until it gets better and pray even when your situation has improved. 

"But in my distress, I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears." Psalms 18:6 NLT 

"The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles." Psalms 34:17 NLT


A great and easy way to read the bible for free is to download the free The Bible App -You Verison on your phone. It has almost, if not all the versions of the Bible, different languages, devotionals to get you started and they even added a section to find verses based on the emoji that describes how you feel! It makes connecting with God during such a busy and overwhelming time much easier. 


Well, those are my top 5 tips on how to get a hold of your finances when life throws you a curve ball! Have you tried any of these tips before? Which one will you try out first? Let me know down in the comments below. 

Looking for more ways to save money? Check out these link's to my other budget-friendly blog posts! 


XOXO, The Natural Babe 

LET'S BE FRIENDS!//

Instagram: @thenaturalbabeblog
Twitter : @samshannonhouse
Pinterest: @thenaturalbabeblog 
Facebook: @thenaturalbabeblog 
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